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Why Taissa Farmiga Is Conflicted Over Violet and Tate's Happy Ending in American Horror Story

"I like things that aren't tied up in a neat little bow"

Sadie Gennis

American Horror Story returned to Murder House in the crossover to end all crossovers. Wednesday's episode of Apocalypse saw Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter) take a trip to the haunted Los Angeles home to find out everything they can about Michael Langdon (Cody Fern). The duo's investigation provided an easy means for the show to bring back most of Murder House's most beloved characters, including Violet (Taissa Farmiga), Tate (Evan Peters), Ben (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton), Moira (Frances Conroy) and of course, Constance (Jessica Lange).

But in the most shocking twist of all, the episode didn't just bring these characters back to put them through the wringer once more. Instead, we saw several of them get their happy endings, including Moira escaping the house to reunite with her mother in the afterlife and Violet and Tate getting back together after four years apart.

Was this all a lot of fan service? Of course! But it was handled extremely well, even if it did leave some viewers who preferred the more bittersweet Murder House ending -- including Farmiga -- a little conflicted over how neatly everyone's storylines wrapped up.

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TV Guide spoke with Taissa Farmiga about Violet and Tate's happy ending, what she thinks of Tate's redemption and why she was initially nervous to reprise the role of Violet.

I was a bit surprised to see that Violet and Tate got their happy ending together. How did you feel when you found out their storylines would bring them back together like that?
Taissa Farmiga:
You know, it's funny because I have conflicting feelings because I have me as Taissa and I have me as Violet. Because I realized when we filmed that scene I was kind of nervous to go back and play someone I played seven years ago and someone who's not supposed to have really aged or changed in any ways mentally or emotionally in these last few years. So it was kind of frightening going back having to play someone who's stuck in that time. And then we filmed it and all of the sudden it was like, "Oh, right. I know Violet. She never left me." Part of me was, I guess the part that was Violet was happy that she didn't have to cry anymore and the part that's Taissa was sort of -- you know, I like things that aren't tied up in a neat little bow. I like when things are ambiguous. So you know, I think I was more happy with the Season 1 ending but I think the Violet inside me is more happy with this ending.

Before Violet forgave Tate, Madison blew some witchy dust on her. What was that spell?
Farmiga: I think it was a spell of clarity and ... clearing away the garbage and unnecessary information and just showing her the truth. Because that house is full of darkness and it's somehow so easy to cover the good things and cover the light. Madison was, for once, was leading with her heart and doing the right thing and she gave Violet clarity.

Fans have always loved Tate and Violet and Tate together, but this always was problematic because Tate was a mass murderer and a rapist. However, this episode seems to absolve Tate from any responsibility and says the house was to blame for his actions. How do you feel about that aspect of their ending and this idea that Tate isn't a monster?
Farmiga: That's such a complicated question because the person who -- I try to see the good in people. But just because someone is in a circumstance that is influenced by outside evil or outside darkness and they're led to do these actions, I don't think you can completely wipe the slate clean and fully take away the responsibility from that person. So it's hard because Tate has been ruined by the house. He's been overcome by the darkness that's there and yet it was still his actions that went and hurt those people and murdered those people and hurt my mom at times -- or Violet's mom. See, I told you it's hard to differentiate sometimes. I don't know. I feel that because these two people are stuck in a house together for the rest of eternity and they can't go anywhere, I think at that point you sort of only have forgiveness to fall back on.

You said you slipped right back into the role of Violet, but when you got on set with Evan did you find the chemistry again right away?
I mean, it was hard because we only had a few fleeting moments in this episode. I would have loved to have had more scenes with Evan just because I think he's a wonderful scene partner, we've always gotten along on set. But we knew the characters and also we had Sarah Paulson directing and she's been there from the very beginning and she knows these characters better than anyone else. So we just had to fall into her hands and fall into these old characters that we loved so much in the past.

How did it feel to be back on the set of Murder House and in this role which played such a pivotal part in your career?
Farmiga: The first time I stepped foot onto the actual Murder House set, the actual on-set location, it was weird, I have to say. I have to admit it felt almost wrong in a way. We told the story and we let those souls be, we let them rest there and then we were coming back to stir it all up. The first time I stepped on the set, I almost felt like we were disturbing the souls and the spirits that live there. But then once we started filming, honestly, it just felt like home. That's where Horror Story started, that's where my career started, you know? There's something comforting about that.

American Horror Story: A Definitive Timeline

What was it like getting to work with Sarah as a director?
Farmiga: Oh my god, it was something I was really, really looking forward to because I had found out a few episodes prior that Sarah was directing Episode 6. And I've always loved working with directors who have previous acting experience. I don't know exactly what it is. There's just something different. There's something different in the way they approach the directing, the way they talk to actors, the way they talk to the crew. I don't know, they just have this bit of experience that they know what's going on and Sarah could just look at me and she knew if I needed a second to get emotional, if I was ready or what. There's just this short-hand. And also, again, as I said before, Sarah's been there since the beginning so to get the opportunity to direct this amazing episode that takes us back in time to Murder House, I don't think anyone else could have done it but Sarah.

In addition to this Murder House episode, this season also features the returns of several Coven characters, including you reprising your role as Zoe. How did the experience of being Violet again compare to the experience of being Zoe again?
It doesn't even compare. Violet is just so special, just in the way that she was me before I figured out who I was in my real human life. I got to play Violet and understand her before I understood who I was as a person. So going back to play Violet, it's just, I don't know, nothing compares. And I love Zoe. And the difference is I played her a few years ago, you know. Sure, five years seems like a long time, but I'm closer to who I was when I played Zoe than when I played Violet and so it was more of a mind twist going back to the Season 1 character.

As soon as it was announced that there'd be a Murder House crossover this season, fans began getting so excited to see all these characters again. What has the fan reaction been like for you?
Farmiga: I mean, everybody's just pumped. It's funny to see how people are still so captivated by the show, they're so intrigued. They still love it after all these years no matter what rollercoaster ride Ryan takes them on. They're still there and they're still in love with it. It's cool to be honest. It's a really crazy experience because I'm one of the actors that, you know, I've sort of come and gone over the years and I haven't been there every time but the fans are just as loving as they've ever been.

Expectations from fans were higher for this episode since it was the Murder House return. Did you feel any of that pressure to give the fans what they wanted?
Farmiga: Um, for me personally, I don't let myself feel that pressure. To tell the story you're telling, you have to do it in the best way you can and sometimes people are going to have expectations and you won't meet them all. You have to stay true to the story and stay true to the characters. I think that's the writers and Sarah as the director, they did a great job in bringing Murder House back to life.

Was there anything you wished there had been room to include or explore with these Murder House characters in this episode if there had been more time?
For me personally, as Taissa, as a fan of the show, I would have loved to have seen more of the relationships between the Harmon family. You got to see between Dylan and Connie Britton, but I would have loved to see how Violet plays into that now. If she's still mumbling how she's pretty stuffed on bullsh-- or if she's actually conversing with her parents. I'm really curious, for me personally, what those relationships are like now.

You obviously worked closely with Emma Roberts throughout Coven, so what was it like getting to act with Emma as Madison but you as Violet and to have those worlds collide like this?
Well, for me, what was interesting about with [Emma] as Violet is I got to see a softer side to Madison, [who is] someone who always has their walls up and always being defensive and has a sarcastic remark to sort of deflect how she's feeling. She kind of put that aside for this episode and especially in regards to Violet and Tate. So getting to work with someone who kind of sheds their defensive layers and being their to help you for the sake of wanting you to move on and find some sort of peace was actually really nice and refreshing.

The ending of Murder House was very bittersweet, and Horror Story for the most part is largely bittersweet. But this episode felt surprisingly happy across the board between Violet and Tate, Moira and her mother. What do you think of the decision to go back and see all these characters find peace and happiness?
Farmiga: As I said before, the fans for this show are so loyal and they're just so passionate about the show. Especially for the fans who've been here from the very beginning, who've been watching every single episode, every single season, I think it was kind of a treat for them. As I said earlier, you have to kind of stick to what's best for the story and what's best for the characters, but I think it's also fun to get them in sometimes, throw a bone for the fans and give them something that they're really craving and I think this was maybe Ryan's little gift to everybody.

Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga, ​American Horror Story: Apocalypse

Do you think we'll ever see Violet again or has this episode really closed the chapter on her story?
Farmiga: Um, you know I think Violet's happy. I don't think you need to change that. I don't think you need to go and meddle now, in my opinion. I think you need to let sleeping ghosts be.

How does this Murder House episode change the course of Apocalypse moving forward?
Farmiga: Listen, there's a lot of information that was gained from this past episode, in Episode 6, and Madison and Behold have to go back and take that information and hopefully they do the right things. Behold was loyal to the warlocks, but now this is something that's greater than them and I hope that they all start making the right decisions.

You're also playing Zoe this season, but we haven't seen Zoe in a while. Is there anything you can tease about what Zoe's up to or how she'll fit back into the season?
Farmiga: Zoe's doing her part. She follows her Supreme and her job is sort of to help get the young ones ready and get the young and newer witches ready for this battle that's seemingly ready to come and happen at any moment.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs Wednesdays at 10/9c. Murder House is available to stream on Netflix.

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